Launch of London’s new e-taxi provides further reason why council is keen on more vehicle charging points
Published: Friday 8th December 17
The oft-heard refrain from London cabbies that they “won’t go south of the river” is set to become a thing of the past with the launch of a new electric-powered black cab coming just days after Wandsworth Council announced it was looking to install e-vehicle charging plugs in lamposts the length and breadth of the borough.
A new generation of eco-friendly black cabs was officially launched on Tuesday at Battersea Power Station by vehicle-maker LEVC (London EV Company).
Their new battery-powered London cab – based on an updated version of the traditional iconic design - is expected to become a familiar sight on the capital’s streets in the coming months and years.
In little over a year’s time all newly licensed London taxis will need to be zero emission capable, and by the end of 2020 Transport for London expects nearly half of London’s 23,000 black cabs will comply with this air quality standard.
The move towards battery power has also been boosted by last month’s announcement that Wandsworth is pursuing a major expansion in the borough’s e-motoring infrastructure.
The council is studying the cost and logistics involved in placing e-vehicle charging plugs in lamposts in all the borough’s residential streets – establishing a far-reaching network of charging points.
A progress update on the council’s proposed course of action is expected in the Spring.
Cabinet member for community services Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “Our ambition is to introduce the most comprehensive network of chargers anywhere in London and one that provides a convenient charging point within easy reach of every resident.
“Soon there really will be no excuse for cabbies in these new eco-friendly taxis to say they won’t come south of the river!
“Replacing 9,000 diesel taxis with ones that produce no harmful emissions will be a major boost to London’s air quality levels. Now we must work hard to persuade ordinary motorists that they too can make the switch.
“The key is to make it simple and easy for people to re-charge their cars close to their homes. That is why we are looking to expand our network of charging points as widely as possible.”
Wandsworth currently offers 35 charging points in 11 locations across the borough – with another 50 due to come into operation at 20 additional sites by the end of this month.
This is already helping to make owning and running an electric car a much more attractive and viable option for Wandsworth residents.
But with growing concerns over air quality coupled with the recent Government announcement that new petrol and diesel vehicles will no longer be offered for sale from 2040 onwards and banned from the roads entirely by 2050, Cllr Cook says now is the time to act.
He added: “We’ve already done a lot to tackle pollution in Wandsworth but we need to do more, and this ambitious initiative has the potential to achieve a real improvement in local air quality.”